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Sigh Hail Horror Hail album cover
4.10 | 51 ratings | 4 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1997

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Hail Horror Hail (5:07)
2. 2 49 (7:43)
3. 12 Souls (6:56)
4. Burial (1:30)
5. The Dead Sing (7:14)
6. Invitation to Die (5:17)
7. Pathetic (2:21)
8. Curse of Izanagi (6:01)
9. Seed of Eternity (9:19)

Total Time 51:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Shinichi Ishikawa / electric & acoustic guitars, bass
- Mirai Kawashima / bass, vocals, synth, piano, Hammond, vocoder, sampling & programming, Fx
- Satoshi Fujinami / drums, triangle, tambourine, giro, vibraslap, handclap

Releases information

Artwork: Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (XIX cent.)

CD Cacophonous Records ‎- NIHIL 24CD (1997, UK)

Thanks to morpheusdravenfuid=morpheusdraven for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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SIGH Hail Horror Hail ratings distribution

(51 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(43%)
Good, but non-essential (22%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

SIGH Hail Horror Hail reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hail Horror Hail is the third studio album from Japanese experimental extreme metal act Sigh. Their debut album Scorn Defeat (1993) was primitive blackened thrash metal and not to my taste while their second album Infidel Art (1995) showed great promise but still lacked the final touch to really impress me. Hail Horror Hail is almost everything I hoped it would be as the band has progressed in an even more experimental/ avant garde direction since the release of Infidel Art.

The basis in the music is still blackened thrash metal/ heavy metal but the orchestral classical elements in the music that was introduced on Infidel Art are now fully developed and a dominant part of Sighs sound. The experimental side of Sigh is also present on Hail Horror Hail. Listen to the jazzy keyboard solo in 12 Souls or the song Invitation to Die which almost could have fit into the symhonic prog catagory had it not been for the raspy vocals. On earlier releases from Sigh Ive complained about the generic guitar and drums and even though the riffs are still not outstanding they fit the music well and its the same with the drums. This is the kind of music were everything works in favour of the big picture. Or in other words the compositions and the atmosphere of the songs. And that approach works well for Sigh who dont need virtuosic guitar solos or technical drumming to make excellent music. The overall sound is very aggressive which is very much due to Mirai Kawashima vocals. A really convinsing performance from him. I have to mention the title track too which opens the album in melodic metal style. Theres almost an Iron Maiden like melodic approach in the song and modern melodic Swedish death metal also comes to mind. A very interesting track and a great opener. Its not very representitive for the album though so remember to listen to a couple of songs more before you judge.

The musicianship is excellent. Drums, bass and guitar are good but not excellent as mentioned but the vocals and the synths are excellent and really lifts Hail Horror Hail to another dimension.

The production is not the usual clean modern metal production that most metal bands prefer. Sigh has a more organic sound on guitar, bass and drums while the synths create a good but not really convinsing orchestra sound. The synth and piano are also used for horror like movie score pieces which are great for the atmosphere of the album.

Hail Horror Hail took some time to sink in and Ive raised my rating from 3 to 4 stars after repeated listening. Ive really thought about it and I think Sigh has made a very original album with Hail Horror Hail and at the same time an album that I greatly enjoy. Therefore a 4 star rating is deserved.

Review by Prog Sothoth
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Envision an oil on canvas painting of a pastoral landscape in which the sun is replaced by a Kardashian buttocks.

Within the musical landscapes of Hail Horror Hail, Sigh breaks with tradition in almost every song concerning the ultra-serious black metal genre by tossing in some unexpected elements that not only add variety and depth to the proceedings, but, in my case at least, lots of humour (intentional or not) as well. It's not like the band isn't trying to play good black metal of the first generational variety (Venom and early Celtic Frost as opposed to the Norwegian stuff of the early 90s) with added symphonic elements, it just seems like they can't help but throw in something really off the wall somewhere in many of their tracks...unique for sure, but not always fitting. That isn't to say this album is not an artistic certainly is...but it's not for all tastes, including many fans of black metal who would scowl and curse the night sky at the xylophone melodies in "Curse of Izanagi" or the keyboard runs mimicking a saxophone in "12 Souls".

What helps make this album work is the seeming seriousness of the lyrics. They are the typical evil sadistic and devil worshipping variety of verse, shrieked out with abandon by Mirai to the point where he sometimes sounds like he's exhausted towards the end of certain tracks. This, along with the doom influenced black metal template they follow sets the landscape. The goofy things such as the slo-mo robotic vocals and bombastic cheesy and rather happy sounding symphonic passages are like a giant rump in the sky...something that shouldn't be there, but it is, and it's up to you to decide what to think.

Two songs deserve special mention. The opening track is a killer. It plays more like a doomy hard rock track with a powerful guitar sound and some serious kick-ass blues solos. Blues solos! The lyrics are dark, but the music is so much fun that it reminds me that Satan hasn't often been so groovy since Black Widow's Sacrifice. The other track is "Invitation To Die". It's a one-of-a-kind for sure as Mirai shrieks and rasps over beautiful, sweet and peaceful synthesizer melodies. It's ridiculous, yet ridiculously entertaining. Although the rest of the album isn't quite at that level of insanity, it's an interesting yet somewhat bizarre piece of artwork.

Review by Warthur
5 stars An early masterpiece from Sigh finds them shifting from the straight-ahead black metal of their early releases into what you might describe as symphonic black metal style - but only if the symphony in question were composed by Mr. Bungle or something. The opening title track almost resembles a hybrid power-thrash metal piece, with only the shrieked vocals keeping us anchored in black metal territory, and then the rest of the album takes us on a delirious tour de force, with moods ranging from the manic (like in the enigmatic 42 49) to the epic (like album centrepiece The Dead Sing, which conjures a landscape where "even the dead CRY FOR HELP!").

If you want find the spot where Sigh definitively stepped away from the second wave Norwegian black metal forces they'd been allied with in their early years and became their own unique channel of chaos and nightmare into the world, then Hail Horror Hail is where it all happens. Give it several listens, because you won't unpack everything in this movie for your ears right away.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars SIGH has become one of Japan's most interesting musical exports as this band has consistently dished out some of the most wickedly fun avant-garde metal since its debut in 1993 with "Scorn Defeat." While more famous for the bizarre Bungle-esque antics heard on lauded releases such as "Imaginary Sonicscape," SIGH actually started or at least tried to start out as a bona fide black metal band but even from the very beginning where all intentions were tarnished with face paint and Scandinavian frigidity, SIGH was like a fish out of water and as time went on instead of retreating and becoming irrelevant, SIGH opted to reinvent itself and become the wild and bizarre Japanese freak show that it is now so good at.

It was clear by the second album "Infidel Art" that SIGH's ambitions were too large to be contained within a single aisle at the metal music supermarket as that album displayed not only black metal ambitions but ventured into excessive symphonic, progressive and doom metal enterprises. Realizing they had to make their own way in the world, SIGH went for broke on its third album HAIL HORROR HAIL and dived headfirst into its own brand of avant-garde metal that was designed to be more of a soundtrack for an insane asylum than a good old fashioned metal music experience from the known universe. In fact the inner sleeve of the album issued a warning that the album was essentially a movie without pictures and the film jumps from scene to scene unexpectedly with the intent of narrating some bizarre story that remains nebulous.

While black metal remains at the heart of SIGH's art metal sound, the band that consisted of three members: Mirai (vocals, bass guitar, synthesizer, piano, Hammond organ, vocoder, sampling, programming, radio, effects), Shinichi (acoustic and electric guitar, bass guitar) and Satoshi (drums, triangle, tambourine, guiro, vibraslap, handclap) doesn't sound like a black metal band at all. True there are distorted metal guitar riffs and Mirai's frantic attempt at rasping it up on the vocals but the album engages in healthy doses of symphonic orchestrations and has song structures that are more akin to progressive rock than anything coming out of Norway at the time. While the opening title track may seem like a normal extreme metal track only decked out in a black'n'roll type of boogie swagger, the album quickly deviates into mondo bizarro territory and in effect provided the blueprint for which SIGH would build its entire future around.

While metal is the name of the game bonding the whole crazy scene together, tracks like "Invitation To Die" drop the metal altogether and instead create a symphonic orchestral sound that breaks out the woodwinds and piano as the main instruments leaving the raspy vocals as the only indication that SIGH is a metal band at all. "Pathetic" starts out sounding like a symphonic rock version of the James Bond theme song that follows suit and makes you wonder if SIGH had now abandoned metal altogether in favor of multi-layered orchestrations that aspire to a career of action movie soundtracks but then "Curse Of Izanagi" resumes the black metal du jour however it retains the symphonic effects and even cranks out a stealthy guitar solo. Clearly SIGH was becoming an unhinged loose canon taking metal to places never conceived of and the world would never be the same.

The album culminates with the 9 minute plus grand finale "Seed Of Eternity" which finds the band's newfound liberties stretching out into untethered progressive excesses. The track pretty much brings together the black metal bombast, the blues rock, symphonic orchestrations and stealthy meandering compositional approach that would continue on up to "Imaginary Sonicscape" and launch SIGH's bizarre interpretation of metal music into the larger international scene. Overall HAIL HORROR HAIL is a more focused affair than some of the album's that follow but pinpoint the exact moment when the band had an apparent realization that they weren't like the rest of the kids on the playground and decided to embrace it as a strength rather than a weakness and for that we can only be grateful that these musical freaks had enough self-confidence to sally forth into the brave new world of avant-garde metal with no restrictions.

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